Temps headed toward the upper 40s for the morning. As we set nets, a few of the poles were showing signs of frost. By daylight, we could see more obvious signs. Frost can form even when the air temperature is well above freezing. Near the ground, in the right conditions, it can bring a bunch of pretty patterns.
It was under those condition that we began our second week of the year and hoped for what might be ahead. For the second week in a row, Net 15 provided our first bird, a Gray Catbird. Close behind, we recaptured a Brown Thrasher and caught right near that was an Eastern Phoebe. This young bird was awake very early for a flycatching bird.
As we were banding the first birds, Charles discovered a skink in the items on our table. It was nearly immobile with the cold air bouncing around an aluminum table top.
After the first birds were banded, Andrew held the skink in his hand to warm it and even took it for a little trip to check the net lanes. The Sun takes a while to reach the banding area so he had to find a sunny log down near the end of the lanes. The lizard was much more active but still needed a bit more warmth before heading off again.
Overlooking the lake, steam rises to greet the day. The remaining steam gathered into the center of the lake before dissipating.
Out of that remaining foggy bank, a Great Egret shot into view and headed toward the pier.
As Red-shouldered Hawks took to the skies today, the entire Blue Jay family was causing much noise. Either imitating them or calling alarms and then chasing them off, they were very loud. Suddenly, one of the family hit the nets.
These Jays are familiar to us and often hang out on patrol near the lake but we don't catch them all the time. This bird was a younger member of the group and a new one to add to our data. People often overlook Blue Jays as they fly about but their blue colors are simply stunning close-up.
Net 21 did produce some birds today before things got quiet. The first bird was a Palm Warbler we caught and banded just before Christmas.
Soon after that, an Orange-crowned Warbler joined the day. This male was showing its crown a bit as we prepared to release it.
Finally, our Barred Owls were heard all morning in different locations. By the end of our shift, one of the birds settled in over the river to rest. They have been hanging out around the old nest tree lately but we see no real sign of babies yet.
Other birds are flocking into the area this week such as Goldfinches and Cedar Waxwings. The weather is forecast to rise back to normal so hopefully we can shed some layers and band even more birds.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, January 22th.
All nets will be opened by 6:50 A.M.